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Student could be expelled over ‘natural’ hair

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Posted at 1:39 PM, Nov 27, 2013
and last updated 2013-11-27 13:39:26-05

ORLANDO, Fla. (WKMG) -  An African-American girl said she may be expelled from her Florida private school if she does not change her natural hair. Vanessa VanDyke said school officials issued the ultimatum after her family complained about teasing from other students.

"First of all it's puffy and I like it that way. And I know people will tease me about it because it's not straight or anything. I don't fit in," VanDyke said.

"There have been bullies in the school. There have been people teasing her about her hair and it seems to me that they're blaming her," VanDyke's mother Sabrina Kent added.

VanDyke's school, Faith Christian Academy, has a dress code and rules against how students can wear their hair. The student handbook dictates hair must be a natural color and must not be a distraction.

"A distraction to one person is not a distraction to another. You can have a kid come in with pimples on his face. Are you going to call that a distraction?" Kent said. "I'm going to fight for my daughter. If she wants her hair like that, she will keep her hair like that."

VanDyke said she was depressed about leaving her friends.

"I would rather have that then the principals and administrators picking on me and saying that I should change my hair," she said.

School administrators did not respond to requests for comments on this issue.